Your number is your card
Often, people decide they need to apply for a new Social Security card because they can’t find their old one. As long as you have all of the required information and documentation, it’s not difficult to obtain a free replacement Social Security card. But here’s even better news: you probably don’t need the card.
When you think about it, your Social Security number is your Social Security card. That is, knowing your number is usually all you’ll ever need. Know your number by heart, and you’ll never leave home without it.
In the event that you really do want or need to get a replacement card, either for yourself or for a child, you can find all the details at socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. The “Get or Replace a Social Security Card” page provides information on how to obtain a free replacement card and what specific documents you need to provide. Each situation is unique, but in most cases, you simply need to print, complete and either mail or bring the application to Social Security with the appropriate documentation (originals or certified copies only).
In almost all cases, though, an application for your newborn’s Social Security card and number is taken in the hospital at the same time that you apply for your baby’s birth certificate.
There are a number of reasons a baby or child may need a Social Security number, but the main one is so that you can claim your child as a dependent on your tax return. Your child also will need a Social Security number to apply for certain government and social service benefits.
Whether you need a Social Security card for yourself or your child, it’s easy to apply for one. But remember: if you already have one and just can’t find it, in most cases all you really need is to know your number. Memorize your Social Security number, and you’ll never leave home without it.
Learn more about your Social Security card and number at socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.
Ken Hess is the public affairs specialist for northern Wisconsin. Contact him at 2023 Navajo St., Rhinelander, WI 54501 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.